Saturday, September 9, 2017

To Opotiki

It's a beautiful drive from Hicks Bay to Opotiki, likely even grander if it doesn't look like this...

Along the way, we passed numerous Maori marae (meeting places). This is Maori country, as was Hicks Bay, where the gracious Maori staff at our Kiwiana motel treated us so kindly.

The marae (meeting grounds) is the focal point of Māori communities throughout New Zealand.
A marae is a fenced-in complex of carved buildings and grounds that belongs to a particular iwi (tribe), hapū (sub tribe) or whānau (family). Māori people see their marae as tūrangawaewae - their place to stand and belong. Marae are used for meetings, celebrations, funerals, educational workshops and other important tribal events.

Our route yesterday (click here to view map if reading in email):
Just outside Opotiki, we're staying in an airbnb in the dunes on the Bay of Plenty. Using airbnb for lodging since we dropped off the caravan has been a varied experience, mostly very good. Possibly not best, though, to be two hours away, tending the unit for a friend who winters in Vietnam, and not checking the place before we arrived to find...a lock frozen up by the salt breezes.

We did finally get in, with the help of the guy who lives upstairs (who was a half hour away), his can of WD40 and a hammer going a long way toward opening it up.

There's a trail through the dune grass to the vast beach, but the tide was in when we investigated this morning.


Additionally, there's the Dunes Trail, built in 2010 and part of the NZ Cycle Trail. The Dunes Trail meanders through the hilly sand for 20km and it's a fine walking path too, just steps outside the door.

In clearer weather, from our deck you can see White Island, which erupted and killed 11 miners in 1914. You can take a tour out there to "one of NZ's most active volcanoes" (I'm Also, kudos to anyone who knows what a fumarole is.

Cruise across the Bay of Plenty and explore the inner crater of New Zealand's most active volcano, White Island. Often described as a once in a lifetime trip and the highlight of a holiday spent in New Zealand, this is not to be missed! Experience roaring fumaroles, amazing colours and the sense of awe you get by stepping foot onto a live volcano!

 Photo / John Borren

Blustery this afternoon, with big winds and some rain. Art had to build a shield to get the first-meal grilling done.

Tomorrow after work we'll do more walking. Meantime, your faithful correspondent wishes you a safe, happy, fumarole-free day.

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